IF such thing as a "glamour" O’Byrne Cup tie exits, this is it. Neither team is likely to be at optimum selection and that in itself should make the clash more competitive.
Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney spoke last Sunday after an easy win over Longford about promoting competition for places within his squad and quite a number of his heretofore peripheral men did just that.
In particular, the performances of 2010 minors Fionn Dowling – who starts from the bench tomorrow - and Thomas Moolick, drew the collective admiration of the hardcore Lilywhites in Newbridge six days ago.
Both looked comfortable in their new environs and took the appearance of men physically capable of coping with the demands of such a big step-up. But McGeeney would be forgiven for thinking the gods had conspired against him in all matters knee-related after Peter Kelly’s cruciate injury on Tuesday night whilst playing for UCD (in their win over Meath in Navan).
The only change to the Kildare team which beat Longford is David Whyte’s promotion from the bench in place of Dowling while both Emmet Bolton and John Doyle, the leading scorer in last year’s provincial and All-Ireland Championship, are added to the bench.
The caveat to Kildare’s win, of course, was the lack of quality with which they were met by in Longford. DCU, on the other hand, are perhaps the panel with the deepest pool of talent in Ireland just now. Any team with the luxury of being able to call on Michael Murphy, Bryan Cullen and Philly McMahon from their reserves are to be taken very seriously and it’s obvious that the college have designs not just on retaining their Sigerson Cup, but also on stringing successive O’Byrne Cups together.
ODDS: Kildare 13/10, Draw 7/1, DCU 8/11